Halal label on Swiss chocolate sparks controversy

Point of contention: the halal label on this Swiss chocolate Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Some consumers in Switzerland and abroad have been questioning the halal label on Toblerone chocolate bars.

This content was published on December 19, 2018 - 16:00

Although certified as halal in April, it was only this week that a small storm began brewing on social media – with some people calling for boycotts of the chocolate produced by Mondelez in Bern.

In recent years, voter-approved bans on burkas and minarets in Switzerland have reflected fear of Islam among some members of the primarily Christian population.

The Toblerone recipe, which has always been halal as well as kosher, has not changed. But the relatively new halal certification makes export easier.

On Sunday, Swiss tabloid BlickExternal link ran an article, “Toblerone is now halal”. Other media outlets also picked up the story, and comments began appearing on social media.

One was from Germany’s federal spokesman for the Alternative for Germany party, who on Facebook wrote, “There is no Islamization – not in Germany nor in Europe. It is therefore certainly pure coincidence that the well-known chocolate variety is now certified as ‘halal’.”

External Content

Additional articles in the Swiss media downplayed the development. As the site Nau.chExternal link pointed out, other products such as Maggi, Nespresso capsules and Emmi’s Emmentaler cheese are also halal-certified.

A headline in the Neue Zürcher ZeitungExternal link read: “Toblerone is now halal – so what?”. The article mentioned that Ricola throat lozenges were also halal.

And “Why the indignation at the Halal-Toblerone is absurd” was how Swiss online platform watson.chExternal link described the fuss.

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